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Amtrak police union warns of ‘potentially dangerous’ staff cuts

Union Station | Sun-Times file photo

Amtrak’s proposed budget cuts will shrink the rail agency’s police department by 18% in the next three years, according to the union representing Amtrak police.

The budget reductions — which the union called “potentially dangerous” — are part of Amtrak’s plan to cut payroll across the country by 2022.

As it stands now, there are 454 Amtrak police officers nationwide. Of those, 43 are assigned to Chicago’s Union Station, according to the Amtrak Fraternal Order of Police. If the staff reduction is applied equally across the country, Union Station will be left with 35 officers.

“Whether it is combatting terrorist threats at Penn Station NY, Baltimore, Union Station in Washington, D.C., and Chicago or 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and Boston South Station or settling a dispute at our remote stations or on board trains, depletion of APD’s resources is a threat to local, regional and national security,” the Amtrak FOP said in a statement.

The potential reductions to Amtrak police would not come by way of layoffs, though. Instead, the rail agency would not replace retiring Amtrak police officers.

In an emailed statement, Amtrak said it was “currently evaluating the deployment of our Amtrak Police Department staff” to ensure the safety of passengers and employees.

“As part of this evaluation, we anticipate adjusting some of our staffing size and deployment levels, including increasing the presence of officers onboard trains,” Amtrak said.